The truck manufacturing industry has a particular set of specifications in mind when designing a prime mover. It needs to know what do we look for in a new truck?
The list seems to get longer each year as new technologies come though into the mix. The latest release from MAN looks as though it has been developed to precisely match those items on the list, at the same time as the European cabover prime mover attempts to become more popular in the Australian market.
The Penske Commercial Vehicles organisation took on the license for MAN in Australia just a few years ago and would have looked at quite a chequered history for the brand. MAN had achieved some success with the 6×2 rigid truck for Australia Post, and scored some goals with all wheel drive for the military and mining customers. However, the big volume segments, prime movers and heavy rigids, eluded them.
The reason seems to have been the lack of specifications which fitted the expectations of Australian truck buyers. This made it hard for the brand to get traction in the market and led to the MAN gaining a limited profile.
The arrival of Penske on the scene was well timed. Several months after the US organisation took over MAN, Western Star and Dennis Eagle distribution, MAN announced the introduction of a six cylinder inline 15 litre engine. This would be capable of putting out the kind of power the Australian buyer likes to see in their prime movers. Until this point MAN had been limited to 13 litre engines, and with power stretched to 530 hp, were unable to get much penetration.
The news sent a wave of anticipation through the MAN team and the priority became, getting some of the D38 models here, but in the right specification to give it the best chance of cracking the market. The first stage of the operation was getting some evaluation trucks here, one of which seen at the Brisbane Truck Show in 2015.
In the intervening period this truck has undergone a number of evaluation tests, going around the country to see how the technology fits into the Australian experience. The upshot of this testing is an MAN truck capable of holding its own as a B-double prime mover and close to the specification most operators prefer to use.
“MAN has been a major player in the European market for a lot of years, we certainly haven’t achieved the results I believe we can and this is the a start of a new era with Penske,” says Mark Mello, General Manager MAN Truck and Bus Australia. “We are very confident the new TGX D38, as the flagship of our vehicle line up, will really put us in a strong position here in Australia.
“Our focus has been on the whole of life costs of the vehicle. We are focused on ensuring we are providing a solution to our customers. We tailored this truck, from a specification point of view to perform the duties it needs to perform and targeting the B-double market.”